um…AWKWARD: the new rules of regifting.

5 02 2011
mad men chip & dip.

it's a chip & dip. we got two.

so yesterday i wrote a little post about gift cards, and i showed off my sexy little stash of paper and plastic tickets to paradise.  well, last night after i put up the post, i was inspired to take stock of my collection and realized that this xmas, i had received a $50 gift certificate to go see a show at a local theater.  the paper clearly advertised “any show in the 2010-2011 season!”, and it occurred to me that i should probably go to their website and figure out which show i wanted to see in advance, so i didn’t end up having to see driving miss daisy or some other old people shit. so i’m browsing their 2010-2011 shows and i realize…

THEIR 2010-2011 SEASON ENDED ON JANUARY 23RD!

now, i got a lot of shit the last time i complained about bad gifts, and this particular gesture was in essence not entirely different (in terms of thoughtlessness) than giving me a plasti-stone statuette of polar bears. but, there’s just something about realizing that you’ve been regifted  that makes you feel like complete crap! especially when it’s something that you actually want,  and then you realize that it’s expired and that you were essentially gifted a colorful piece of paper that the original recipient didn’t want.  it’s sort of the holiday equivalent of getting punk’d.

but, we live in a culture of constant and unnecessary consumption. every time i go to the goodwill, i think “if the universe never produced another basket for the next 10,000 years, we would still be ok”. at least with a regift,  you’re not directly supporting the avalanche of pointless and unwanted consumer goods that bury us every holiday season.  in theory, regifting is a good idea. so why does it feel so bad?

1. a regift says- “this wasn’t good enough for me, but i’m sure it’ll be fine for you”.

2. an obvious regift makes the recipient feel like they weren’t worthy of you spending any time or money on them.

3. if you don’t want it, there’s a good chance that it kind of sucks.

so keeping these things in mind, i decided to make up my own rules of regifting: Read the rest of this entry »





accepting exceptions.

28 07 2010

was i supposed to be on some sort of cash diet or something? it was sort of like i blacked out and woke up in a ditch and all my money was gone, except for the part where that didn’t happen. bring on the carelessness! my attempts to majorly rein in my spending this month somehow completely derailed this week as i proceeded to make exception after exception after exception…

exception #1: sister and her husband came to visit from albany. delicious barbecue dinner (split with the boyfriend) -$50

exception #2: sister’s visit ran concurrently with my niece’s 2nd birthday. dora the explorer microphone -$15

exception #3: accidental impulse purchase of coveted belt at target while buying dora microphone- $16

exception #4: purchased gas for friend who keeps hauling my ass home from dance class- $20

exception #5: bought a compilation of oldies on itunes to sing in the car with my little sister (she’s a living oldies encyclopedia)- $27

total damage: $128 (on top of the allotted $50 i spent on tomfoolery earlier in the week).

looking back on them all, only the belt (which i do love and have been stalking for many months) counts in my mind as a true foible. gas, gifts, and time spent with loved ones (especially loved ones who live 5 hours and 11 minutes away and never visit) hardly qualify as mistakes, so why do i feel so guilty about it? it’s roughly the same feeling that i get whenever i cheat on a diet:

i am only very slightly overweight. but, i remember what it feels like to weigh 25 lbs. less, and i miss those days with great desperation and self criticism that indicates that i will never be happy in my current skin. i even know how to lose weight (what i should eat, how much exercise). however, whenever the part about sacrifice and sucking it up rolls around… i fold like the foldiest folding chair that ever folded. out roll the excuses about how i’m going to start tomorrow, had a hard day, or how a few more calories won’t hurt. i am the motherfucking excuse master. somewhere in my stupid head (even though i think i want otherwise),  i know that i’m “not that fat”. i am normal and passable (acceptable even!) to most in a way that makes the urgency less um… urgent.

with money, i have a lot of debt, i have minimal savings (thank you stupid fucking roof), and i have a strong desire for financial freedom… but i also have enough income to pay my bills and go out on the town when i want to . as long as my bills are paid, i don’t HAVE to put any of that money toward my debt or my savings, and i don’t. there will always be an excuse to spend more and save less because i’m selfish and lazy and don’t want to give up any immediate quality of life- even if it means my quality of life will be infinitely better in the long run. i understand, but i don’t “get it”.

what is it about money and food (consumption!) that leave me so completely powerless and in a perpetual state of treading water? and furthermore, is there some sort of suze orman/jillian michaels hybrid (terrifying!) who will come to my house and scream at me to get real? i can see the problem so clearly, but the solution is nowhere to be found. it’s not as simple as “eat less” or “spend less”, that doesn’t work for me. but what will?